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The Christmas newsletter 2015 and mercifully there will be no more.

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(Until he finally kicks the bucket, GOF will enjoy hearing from you via the sidebar message facility or email under the ‘Who’s this GOF bastard’ tab above. Thank you to all my WP friends, it’s been a wonderful journey.)

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This year, as an antidote to the rampant scourge of cynicism and sarcasm which pervades our beautiful world, I would like to share with you the following heartwarming newsletter that I received today from my Cousin FOG;

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Hello dear friends,

Seasons greetings to you all.

Two thousand and fifteen has been our annuss anus horrabillus a pretty rotten year for us down here on the farm.

The purebred line of large-boned Charolais beef cattle we’d been developing for 40 years had their exquisite genetic constitutions sullied by that runt of a Jersey bull from Uddermans Dairy Farm next door. The randy little bastard apparently got into 23 of our prizewinning cows some time in January although we didn’t find out until later in the year when our lovely girls started dropping ugly and stunted diarrhoea-coloured progeny.

Sadly the FOG family is functioning like our local municipal garbage dump at the moment. Brand new crap is being generated at a faster rate than I, as patriarch, can bury it or transfer portions into someone elses backyard. Patriarchy is a very demanding and stressful business.

I know you’ll find it hard to believe that the twin girls are now 27 years old. Goodness gracious me how time does fly. Sophie Isabella Nosegay , who we’ve always just called ‘Sin‘for short, eventually took her vows of silence and chastity last June and remains cloistered in the Pirelli Convent near Milan in northern Italy. We no longer hear from her and barring the magic of immaculate conception or some other mistiming of rhythmic ecclesiastical intervention we probably won’t ever be blessed with grandchildren sprouting from her branch of the family tree. A bit of a waste really. She was very good breeding stock.

Lazy‘ Susan is more than making up for her sister’s carnal deprivations. The latest boyfriend from America seems to be a pretty good sort of chap though. Lance apparently used to be a reasonable cyclist back in the day and he’s been busy helping Susan and her kiddies with some dietary supplements to help them all cope better with their busy lives.
We do still worry about her a lot though. Whilst Australia’s policy of multiculturalism is very good in principle we feel that Susan is shouldering way too much responsibility. The fathers of her five children all returned to their respective places of origin in Chad, Bahamas, Mongolia, Oklahoma and Tasmania before my friend Winchester and I could intervene and negotiate some child support money out of them.

Normally at this time of year, even though it’s very hot here in Australia, as a service to the community I squeeze into my Father Christmas costume and dispense yuletide joy and happiness to all the feral rugrats wonderful children who gather in the airconditioned Swindling Spigot Shopping Centre.  Unfortunately I’ve been banned from doing it this year just because of some stupid appointment I’ve got down at the Magistrates Court on the ninth of December.
I think I can prove what I did was justifiable spontaneous retribution after that inconsiderate fat kid leapt onto my Santa lap last year and ruptured both of my anterior cruciate ligaments. Just because his father happened to be that toffee-nosed Crown Prosecutor Sir Archibald Wrigley-Basemetal I am now in a wee spot of bother. Upper class gits.

Another team of lawyers is also flat out parasitising another member of our family.

Uncle Bart, who spent most of his life training thoroughbred horses in Victoria is facing doping charges. As you might already know, Bart’s successes on the racing track were few and far between, although his gelding Knackery Boy did come a creditable 17th behind Rising Fast in the 1954 Melbourne Cup. Eventually the horse’s name proved to be quite prophetic.
Uncle Bart is now 91 and he recently moved into the Our Angel of Necrosis home for the chronically ancient. The doping incidents apparently involve at least two rather sprightly 87 year-old women living just down the corridor from Uncle B. Unfortunately the nurses and police discovered an incriminatory stash of veterinary drugs and other paraphernalia hidden in Bart’s wardrobe so it’s not looking too good for him. Goodness knows what he was planning to do with his old eartag pliers and elastrator.

It’s been a superb year for growing stuff here on the farm. The Back Paddock down by the creek was especially productive. Accordingly, Shantibelle Clover (my sixth wife who I hadn’t got around to telling you about yet) and I were in high spirits for most of the year….well at least until my birthday in October when she shot through with some tattooed Hells Angel and all three tons of our surplus trading stock.

Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Just like the years.

Seasons greetings and best wishes for 2016.

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A plague of enyots

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Warning;  Contains one naughty word necessary to tell the story.
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Mrs GOF’s father was caught between two worlds. Born in a remote village in New Guinea he was deprived of a formal education so he chose to relocate his young family by overland trek to Pindiu, a Government outpost where all his children could attend an English curriculum school.

He had extraordinary linguistic abilities. Speaking five languages fluently he also had a working knowledge of two more. After moving to Pindiu he started adding a few English words to his vocabulary. Most came from overhearing his kids chattering after school, or listening to the more colourful language being used by the Australian Patrol Officers for whom he worked as a labourer and translator.

He did not understand the dictionary meaning of these words and sometimes his pronunciation went awry. For example ‘idiot’ always came out as ‘enyot‘. I suspect the older siblings might have been complicit in ensuring the mispronunciations continued because they still tell funny stories about it today long after their dad has passed away.
“You enyots” was his reprimand for minor childhood transgressions, but more serious breaches elicited a bellowed “You fukkin enyots“. In his mind, these words meant simply “You naughty children”.
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For nigh on twenty years Mrs GOF and I have had a market stall selling plants at the annual Father’s Day street carnival at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. For most of this time the smooth operation of the event was a credit to Betty, a matronly volunteer who toddled around with a clipboard, pen and a welcoming smile. Life was good back then.

A few years ago the Cairns City Council took over management of the event and replaced Betty with an assortment of overpaid tertiary-educated bureaucrats who abolished common sense and progressively turned administrative stupidity into an art form.

This year, applications and communications could only be made online.
We will not be allowed to participate unless we take an entire day off from our farm work and drive four hours to Cairns to participate in a mandatory induction course to learn about the workplace health and safety implications of setting up a market tent.

It’s being conducted this morning.  Goodness gracious me we’re going to miss out.
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I refuse to enable any of these fukkin enyots to gain a foothold in my life.
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Anthrax. Another New Guinea memory.

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The portly government recruiting bloke in Australia warned me that the job I’d applied for as an Agricultural Officer in Papua New Guinea would involve unique challenges and responsibilities.
And so it proved to be…..time and time again during my 12 years working there.
I’d only been in PNG for a few weeks when this event happened;
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I was nineteen years old when I found myself in charge of one of the most remote agricultural extension stations in Papua New Guinea. Lumi in the West Sepik District. No roads to the outside world, and all supplies were flown in from Wewak once a week on a chartered Piaggio or Cessna ‘push-pull’ aircraft.

No telephones either. Just a crackly HF radio sched each morning which delivered the following telegram from my boss in Vanimo;
“OUTBREAK OF ANTHRAX IN PIGS REPORTED AT RAUIT, BOGASIP AND ANGUGANAK VILLAGES STOP PROCEED AT YOUR EARLIEST TO VACCINATE ALL DOMESTIC PIGS STOP VACCINE ON NEXT GOVERNMENT CHARTER STOP’
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Pigs are a highly valued asset in PNG village culture.
My journal entry for Monday 24 June 1968 reads simply;
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“Departed 10.30 am to Rauit village for anthrax vaccination of pigs. Arrival Rauit 6.30 pm. Overnight Rauit.”
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Now God knows what the village elders thought of us earnest well-intentioned lily-white overgrown children from Australia who were scurrying around their tribal lands ineptly pushing forth barrows full of Western superiority and magic potions delivered with administrative aggrandisement. My own ineptitude on this occasion;
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1. I hadn’t been in PNG long enough to acquire a working knowledge of Melanesian tok pisin, the lingua franca necessary to tell the good folk of Rauit that I was about to poke holes in their pigs with sharp objects. Fortunately a Persian anthropologist was living nearby and able to translate.

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2. I’d never previously administered an injection to anything or anybody, but I thought I’d once seen a vet do it to a cow somewhere.

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3. I had zero knowledge about anthrax. Obviously a rare failure of the Australian agricultural college curriculum. No books or library to look it up. No internet. To this day I do not know if pig anthrax can be spread to humans or if I should have taken any personal precautions whilst administering the vaccine. I spent three days from sparrow-fart to sundown ‘shooting’ hundreds of domesticated pigs with my new fancy veterinary equipment, so I’m assuming either the disease was relatively harmless or I have natural immunity to anthrax.
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Now, one more little thing…… “Departed 10.30 am to Rauit….arriving 6.30 pm” is a statement which totally overlooks the degree of technical difficulty involved.

Getting to Rauit village was not some sort of air-conditioned cruise down the freeway in a Mustang with a Camel cigarette hanging out of my mouth and Hank Marvin and The Shadows twanging away in the quadraphonic speakers. It was a project best left to idiots  people like me who were being adequately remunerated for all the effort and inconvenience. Fifty six dollars per week plus 65 cents camping allowance for every night when we didn’t make it home again.
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Stage One; Lumi to Anguganak. Anguganak Missionary Station was 25 kilometres from Lumi on what we sarcastically referred to as the Sepik Highway. In fine weather it took one hour riding the Government issue Honda 90 motor bike, but on this day, like many others, the journey took several hours.
With every shower of rain the wheels jammed up with sticky mud until they would no longer rotate. The rocky fords at the four major river crossings were so deep that water flowed back up the exhaust pipe, instantaneously killing the engine. Recovery procedure as follows;
Curse and gesticulate.
Push bike over slippery boulders to other side of the river.
Curse extravagantly. Arms too tired for gesticulating.
Dismantle engine and pump water out of cylinder with kick start.
Curse with greater originality and cranked-up volume.
Spray Jesus Juice (CRC) on all parts and reassemble.
Repeatedly push bike up nearest hill and roll back down in gear until engine eventually fires up again. (allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for each river)
(Travel tip; Stop swearing and referring to CRC as ‘Jesus Juice’ before arriving at any missionary station.)

Stage Two; Walk to Rauit.   Leave motor bike with the good missionary folk at Anguganak, then zig-zag walk for an hour up the vertical escarpment behind the station before sloshing through the jungle for another hour to Rauit village.
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I treasure all these memories of what was a wonderful chapter in my life.
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Pictures below; Apologies for crap quality. Not my fault. Almost half a century of fungus and fading did it.
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'Sepik Highway' near Lumi 1968.  Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

‘Sepik Highway’ near Lumi 1968. Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

 

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

 

On top of the bluff...mission station far below near the river.

On top of the bluff…mission station far below near the river.

Wickedness

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Thankfully we got rid of most forms of censorship in Australia, but that does not give adults the right to behave in a manner which is prejudicial to maintaining an environment of innocence for our children.  
Warning;   This story necessarily contains one tasteless sexual reference.

 

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Wicked Campervans began operating in Cairns a long time ago hiring affordable wheels, primarily to young backpackers. For many years I was wholesomely entertained by the passing parade of witty slogans and eye-catching paintings on their vans. Proclamations such as “A baby ate my dingo” and “Virginity is curable” still make me smile.

In recent times the slogans have became increasingly crude, sexist and misogynous accompanied by sexually explicit illustrations. I will spare you the worst of them which graphically demean women and sexuality. We’re not talking bumper stickers here…..this is stuff most people can read from 50 paces, and myopic GOF from ten.

The proprietors of Wicked have been thumbing their noses at complaints from locals, and authorities failed to intervene as it seems motor vehicles are exempt from scrutiny or regulation under any Australian public decency or advertising standards legislation.

It required a courageous eleven year old girl from interstate to stop the rot. She was offended by the prominent tailboard slogan “In any princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once” and initiated a media campaign which received a tidal wave of support from around the nation.

The company has now been forced to back down and apologise and begin the huge task of erasing offensive material from dozens of their vans.

I am left wondering why all the responsible adults sat on their hands while Wicked sped so far out of control leaving one little girl to deploy the metaphorical spike mat which finally brought the vulgarity to a halt.
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A useful purpose

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This is my Maori weapon from New Zealand, a patu or mere, traditionally used to stave in the skulls of enemies, some juvenile delinquents, and presumably any irritating little turd who popped his head up at an inopportune moment.

A very useful purpose indeed.

My traditional patu is made from very dense wood shaped by a traditional band saw, engraved using a traditional industrial wood stamping machine before being finished off with three coats of traditional petro-chemical varnish applied through a traditional air-powered paint gun.

I inherited my patu following my mums death 23 years ago. Since then it has been sitting on the shelf gathering dust. A little like me really.

Neither of us have a purpose. Until…….

until……I remembered my all-time favourite comedy sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson.

Sunday I will be purposefully taking my patu into the city.

There is a great deal of work which needs to be done.

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Ophelia’s shoes

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Sadness warning.
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(Based on a true story which touched my heart.)
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OPHELIA’S SHOES
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Ophelia was an infant star
In a town I’ll leave unknown.
Her flaxen hair and impish smile
Melted hearts made out of stone.
The cake with candles three on top
Was iced in rainbow hues.
It’s party time: “Mama please,
Put on my nice pink shoes.”

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Ophelia ballerina,
At the age of just sixteen
Was invited to audition
And debut as the Swan Queen.
Through pain there came perfection.
She surely paid her dues,
And when the big night came,
She put on her nice pink shoes.

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Ophelia shared her life and love
With Maree, a dancer too.
This passionate affection
Was known only by a few.
Unofficially they married
In a bar that played the blues,
And Ophelia and Maree
Both wore their nice pink shoes.

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One year on: Maree was killed
While texting at the wheel.
Ophelia has a shattered spine
And legs that cannot feel.
Wheelchair bound she sits all day
By windows with some views.
With broken soul: “Mama please
Put on my nice pink shoes.”

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Déjà vu; The Goats and The Donkeys

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(Any similarity to the state of play in Australian politics is just some really weird coincidence.)
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The Goats were elected to govern the Australia Paddock some time ago after the Donkeys kept spitting and biting and kicking each other and crapping all over their own sleeping pads.

The first job the Goats did was to fix up the fences to stop all the outsiders from wandering willy nilly into our home Paddock whenever they felt like it.

After that was done the Goats discovered to their horror that the grass in the home Paddock was being eaten at a faster rate than it was growing.
In fact there was bugger-all grass left at all because the Donkeys (and another lot of Goats before them) had been so consumed with digging big holes and selling dirt out of the paddock to the Pandas in another field that they never noticed the disappearing grass.

When the Pandas decided they didn’t want any more of our dirt, the Goats panicked and immediately rushed into the silo to get some seed to start planting more grass. Lo and behold they discovered that the silo was empty and all it contained was a heap of bloated old Donkeys and Goats burping from overindulgence and three hundred corpulent foreign squirrels who’d been permitted to feed off the granary without ever having to contribute to it.

The Goats then decided it was time for all the animals in the Australia Paddock to start contributing more to it’s upkeep. This idea failed to pass the ultimate test of statesmanship and responsible governance;  The Popularity Poll.
It was also knocked on the head by one big fat Independent Wombat who had already single-handedly dug up much of the home Paddock and eaten it out of house and home.
A few green parrots camouflaged in the branches of the Parliament Tree also made some meaningless chirps and warbles but they soon went back to filling their bellies with perkberries.

Eventually the ruling Goats became obsessed with their popularity slump so they started spitting and biting and kicking each other, as well as crapping all over their own sleeping pads, and …………….

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So where are all the wise owls when we so desperately need them?

They’ve been relegated to a patch of remnant habitat in the back corner of the Paddock. The environment created by the Donkeys and the Goats is unsuitable for their survival.

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